Should dispersers be fast learners? : Modeling the role of cognition in dispersal syndromes
Liedtke, J., & Fromhage, L. (2021). Should dispersers be fast learners? : Modeling the role of cognition in dispersal syndromes. Ecology and Evolution, 11(20), 14293-14302. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8145
Published inEcology and Evolution
© 2021 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Both cognitive abilities and dispersal tendencies can vary strongly between individuals. Since cognitive abilities may help dealing with unknown circumstances, it is conceivable that dispersers may rely more heavily on learning abilities than residents. However, cognitive abilities are costly and leaving a familiar place might result in losing the advantage of having learned to deal with local conditions. Thus, individuals which invested in learning to cope with local conditions may be better off staying at their natal place. In order to disentangle the complex relationship between dispersal and learning abilities, we implemented individual-based simulations. By allowing for developmental plasticity, individuals could either become a 'resident' or 'dispersal' cognitive phenotype. The model showed that in general residents have higher learning abilities than dispersers. Dispersers evolve higher learning ability than residents when dispersers have long life spans and when dispersal occurs either early or late in life, thereby maximizing the time in one habitat patch. Time is crucial here, because the longer an individual resides in a location where it can use its learned knowledge or behavior, the more often it profits from it and thus eventually obtains a net benefit from its investment into learning. Both, longevity and the timing of dispersal within lifecycles determine the time individuals have to recoup that investment and thus crucially influence this correlation. We therefore suggest that species' life history will strongly impact the expected cognitive abilities of dispersers, relative to their resident conspecifics, and that cognitive abilities might be an integral part of dispersal syndromes. ...
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Publication in research information system
MetadataShow full item record
Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Research costs of Academy Research Fellow, AoF
Additional information about fundingAcademy of Finland, Grant/Award Number: 283486
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